Zanu-PF's grim new weapon
How Mugabe's men use poison to torture and kill their victims
The terror campaign being waged by government militia in Zimbabwe has taken on a new dimension - the deliberate application of highly toxic chemicals to the wounds suffered by opposition MDC supporters.
I have evidence that at least seven people, who first suffered severe beatings, had their open wounds sprayed with the dipping chemical Tactik Cattle Spray and the herbicide Paraquat. A nine-year-old girl had Paraquat applied to slashes on her buttocks. The process radically increases pain, and can lead to death.
Yesterday, Tuesday, I saw four victims of this treatment in a private health care centre in Harare run by missionary doctors. All come from Manicaland, where Zanu-PF terror squads are known to be operating. One victim, Tonde Mondiwa, 24, is not expected to survive.
Tonde's arms and legs are covered in blisters, and the skin is peeling off. He told me: "I was beaten up first by the Green Bombers (a Zanu-PF youth militia). Then they poured water mixed with Paraquat on me."
One of the doctors told me: "The cell death in Tonde's skin tissue is rapid, his chance of recovery is now nil." She explained that the chemicals eat through flesh, leaving bones exposed. "This is nothing less than chemical warfare being waged against civilians," she said.
Paraquat is described as a quick-acting, non-selective herbicide, which is poisonous to humans if even a small amount is swallowed or enters the blood stream.
Meanwhile across the country more conventional terror tactics continue to be inflicted on those identified as supporters or activists with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
While Mugabe continues to threaten war and death to those who vote against him, more deaths are being notified. Farai Gamba, an MDC ward organiser in Rusape, was shot dead by militiamen, while the local chairman of a group of independent election monitors has disappeared.
Some militia are making no secret of their crimes. In Buhera South Mugabe's men first murdered MDC supporter Chokuse Muphango, then drove his body through town on a truck, announcing: "We have killed the dog."